The NHL has informed Shawn Thornton he will be having a hearing for his first-period assault on Brooks Orpik. Thornton is suspended indefinitely because of the match penalty he received after he knocked out Orpik. Thornton will not play on Sunday against Toronto and could be suspended for the rest of the road trip.
Thornton drove Orpik to the ice. Thornton punched Orpik several times. Orpik was taken off the ice on a stretcher and driven to Massachusetts General Hospital. Orpik was conscious and alert at the hospital.
“I feel awful,” Thornton said. “It wasn’t my intention for that outcome. I know Brooksie. I’ve gotten to know him over the last seven years here. I skate with him in the summer and through the lockout. I’ve texted him a couple times. I feel awful. It’s not what I wanted to see or what anybody wanted to see.”
Thornton was angry about Orpik’s hit on Loui Eriksson. The hit left Eriksson with his second concussion of the season. Eriksson will not play against Toronto.
“It’s always my job to defend my teammates,” Thornton said. “I’ve prided myself for a long time to stay within the lines. It’s hard for me to talk about it right now. I can’t say I’m sorry enough. I’m sure I’ll be criticized for saying it. But it’s true. I hope he’s doing all right. I heard he’s conscious and talking. I’m happy to hear that.”
UPDATE: Thornton will have in-person disciplinary hearing. Thornton will be eligible to be suspended for six or more games.